World Bank to Fund Moroccos Controversial Education Reform Bill

Rabat – The World Bank announced, on June 20, its MAD 500 billion program in support of Morocco’s 2015–2030 Education Reform.The program aims to act on key elements of the vision to drive the sector’s transformation and boost human capital for every Moroccan child.The Reform has been written into legislation for new framework laws in the education system. The funding comes as the submission of the framework law advocating the introduction of foreign languages ​​into the teaching of science subjects has divided parliamentarians, even within the majority.Read Also: Education Sector Unions Refuse Ministry of Education ReformAlthough validated by the Strategic Vision, developed by the Higher Council of Education, the framework law remains controversial.Despite the support of other parties for the new framework law, the Justice and Development Party (PJD) remained opinionated and a “strong defender” of teaching these subjects in Arabic just like Al Istiqlal party.In March 2019, the parliamentary groups had found a consensus on the article related to teaching scientific and technical subjects in foreign languages. The article aims to avoid the linguistic break between high school and higher education by adopting the same language for both levels. The situation fell back to ground zero soon after. The reason was a video posted online the day before the meeting of the Commission, in which Abdelilah Benkirane, the previous head of government, calls the deputies of the PJD to vote against the draft law.Despite the controversy, the government agreed to obtain funding of MAD 500 billion from the World Bank in order to carry out the strategic vision of the framework law and to support the 2015–2030 Education Reform.The Education Reform aims to emphasize the importance of education, training qualified teachers, creating new standards for those who wish to work in the sector, as well as securing employment through vocational training.“The education sector represents 6.4% of Morocco’s gross domestic product, an essential tool for strengthening human capital in the country,” the Bank noted. “In less than 20 years, the country achieved universal access to education for girls and boys, a notable MDG achievement. However, learning outcomes have remained stubbornly modest.”The fund appears to allow the implementation of the requirements of the framework law without voting for it. The fund will specifically help implement the part related to access to the public education system and the promotion of language teaching. read more

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Real security vital for any refugee returns to southern Sudan – UN

A high-level team from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spent two weeks meeting with refugees in neighbouring Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Kenya to sound them out about returning to southern Sudan if talks between the Government and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement succeed. The talks in the Kenyan town of Naivasha have encouraged UNHCR to re-establish its presence in south Sudan after a 14-year absence. “We felt it was important to hear directly from the refugees themselves how they feel about returning home,” Dennis McNamara, UNHCR’s Inspector General and leader of the four-person team, said in Nairobi According to the agency, refugees have emphasized that their first concerns were protection and security during and after their return. “We want to go home, but only when we are sure it is really safe on the ground,” UNHCR quoted one leader as saying. “We have learned from 1972 that peace agreements have to be respected and implemented if we are going to be able to go home permanently.” That year began the only decade since Sudan became independent in 1956 when civil war did not blight the country. They also stressed the priority of continued education for their children, as well as other basic services including health, water and income-generating activities. Mr. McNamara’s mission was part of the planning for the return of over 150,000 refugees in the first 18 months after the signing of any peace accord. The war in southern Sudan is separate from the conflict in the western Darfur region of Africa’s largest country that has seen 110,000 refugees flee into eastern Chad. Overall, fighting is estimated to have uprooted more than 3 million people inside Sudan, while a further 600,000 are living in neighbouring states as refugees. Mr. McNamara said he was especially interested in the views of women who said they were very concerned about security in south Sudan, particularly the presence of militias. Landmines and small arms are also a problem. Schooling for children is a top priority, the women indicated, calling for a major drive to improve literacy at all levels. read more

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